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Media General, Nexstar Trade Jabs and Declare Impasse In Takeover Fight

Station group owners Media General and Nexstar have kicked up their war of words over Nexstar’s unsolicited takeover offer after negotiations stalled.

Nexstar issued a press release early Wednesday declaring that it was at an “impasse” after weeks of negotiations with Media General on an acquisition. Nexstar launched an unsolicited bid for the Richmond, Va.-based Media General in September after Media General struck a merger agreement with station group and magazine owner Meredith Corp.

Media General later in the day issued a statement criticizing Nexstar for failing to sweeten its initial offer that has been rejected by the Media General board. “Nexstar refuses to properly price the combination and materially improve its view on value,” Media General said.

Media General also seemed to chide Nexstar for negotiating via press release. “We are surprised that Nexstar issued today’s press release reiterating its previous proposal which our board had already unanimously rejected. We note that it is unclear from Nexstar’s press release if its current proposal is indeed its best and final proposal,” Media General said.

 

Nexstar is offering a cash and stock deal that values Media General at $16.31 a share. Media General said its board continues to endorse the proposed merger with Meredith Corp. , valued at $3.1 billion. Media General shares were down 10 cents at the close of trading Tuesday to $14.48. The shares have shot up 40% since mid-September.

Nexstar criticized Media General for dismissing a higher offer from Nexstar last August to acquire the company at $17 a share.

“We believe Media General shareholders will be disappointed with their board’s unreasonable negotiating position given the immediate and long-term strategic and economic benefits a combination with Nexstar would provide, and that they will urge Media General to engage with us to reach a transaction on reasonable economic terms,” Nexstar CEO Perry Sook said.

 

Media General owns 71 TV stations, most of them network affiliates, serving 48 markets. Irving, Texas-based Nexstar owns 107 stations in 58 markets. Nexstar shares sank nearly 4% to $54.17 in trading Tuesday.

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